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   Home      Popular Dishes

Below is a list of definitions most commonly used when eating-out in India.
Puri The most popular is bhelpuri : crispy crunchy semolina, puffed rice, onion and potato garnished with an assortment of spicy chutneys, coriander and a squeeze of lime. Variations include sev puri, -- bhel served canap style - and dahi puri, doused in sweet yogurt. Bhaji Don't take their word for it, however, unless you have a tried and tested constitution. Or better still opt for the relatively safer cooked snacks like pao bhaji and vada pao.
Pao Actually, pao bhaji is more than a snack; it's a staple. The bhaji is essentially a runny vegetable stew accompanied by soft bread buns or pao liberally soaked in sinful amounts of melted butter. The dish is prepared in the open air on a huge iron griddle: chopped vegetables, spices and slabs of butter cook quickly on the hot surface and are poured bubbling into plates accompanied by generous helpings of buttered bread. Certainly not for the calorie conscious, but for the common man its generally cheap, fresh and perfectly safe when served piping hot.
Poor Mans Snack The other favourite of the hungry Mumbaiwallah is vada pao, a spicy, deep fried potato dumpling sandwiched between the cheeks of a soft fat pao and slathered with spicy chutney. This is the quintessential poor man's snack, popular amongst migrant labourers and impoverished urchins. One piece for breakfast generally costs Rs 4.00 which is less than the price of a bus ticket and will see you through until late afternoon.
Idlis and Dosas This is South Indian fast food at its best. Idlis are steaming hot rice cakes served with a curry called sambar and some subtly spiced coconut chutney. Dosas are huge crepes with a pungent potato filling, also served with sambar and chutney. Both these are meals by themselves, and serve as the standard lunch for thousands of office goers.
Chinese In Mumbai, streetside Chinese food is humorously called Chindian: mostly noodles or chow fan soaked in pungent curries laced with green chilies. Despite the cultural mishmash this is surprisingly tasty stuff but can take its toll on a sensitive stomach.